Elizabeth Fisher argues that, rather than hunting tools, the first cultural device of the human species was probably a carrier bag, which let transported the vegetables gathered. A weapon-wielding man, however, is apparently a more captivating image to depict on the walls of a cave than a food-carrying scene. Ursula Le Guin adapted this theory to fiction and told gripping stories in which unheroic characters make their way through life with all its failures and conflicts. The “Carrier Bag Theory of Architecture” applies Le Guin’s theory to architectural practice. Architecture requires a fundamental change in the age of crisis. However, as architects, can we tolerate such radical change in the images we inherited, our ossified perception of beauty and functionality? What if we listen to and understand the stories of abandoned buildings rather than focusing on more heroic, successful examples?
Developed for the Turkish exhibition at La Biennale di Venezia 2023, together with an open call to compile recent documentation of unused buildings across Turkey, the “Ghost Stories: The Carrier Bag Theory of Architecture” is a publication that introduces novel concepts, tools, and methods to think architecture based on an alternative framework of discussions and imagination.